Sarah Lee and Yutaka Yano from SKY YUTAKA, working in collaboration with Davina Lee from Diorama Projects, Roger Wu and Alan Lai have been selected as Curator and Producer for Architecture Exhibition in London RIBA.

Tall Storeys – Evolution in Hong Kong Architecture – 1965 to 2014 presents the story of Hong Kong through its architecture. Organised by the Hong Kong Institute of Architects (“HKIA”), Tall Storeys charts the development of Hong Kong’s distinctive built environment through the HKIA Annual Awards, granted in recognition of the outstanding achievements of Hong Kong’s architects. The exhibition presents selected projects recognized by the awards in addition to other projects of outstanding architectural significance from 1965 to the present day, locating them within the original social, economic and regulatory frameworks of the time, to provide visitors with a holistic overview of Hong Kong and its evolution through its architecture.

From 1965, the year in which the HKIA Annual Awards were inaugurated, the jury-selected projects have reflected key trends in the development of Hong Kong’s built environment. Having one of the deepest natural maritime ports in the world bordered by a terrain dominated by hills and mountains, early projects tackled the perennial challenges presented by unprecedented population growth and rapid industrialization in the midst of chronic scarcity of land. The seminal high-density residential project Choi Hung Estate (Silver Medal, 1965), residential blocks featuring long corridor layouts and communal bathroom and kitchen facilities were an expedient response to overwhelming demographic change in post war Hong Kong. Technical developments such as interlocking “scissor staircases” made possible the compact high-rise tower block podia introduced in the 1960s and 1970s such as the Hung Hom Bay Centre (Silver Medal, 1980). With its landscaping, water features and greenery, the Hung Hom Bay Centre reflected the aspirations from the growing private sector for a better standard of living.

As infrastructure increasingly narrowed the gap between established urban areas and the so called “new towns”, award-winning projects of the 1980s, including the luxury office and retail complex The Landmark (Silver Medal, 1982) and commercial projects such as Exchange Square (Silver Medal, 1985) housing the Hong Kong Stock Exchange marked the transition of Hong Kong’s economic base from manufacturing to logistics and global financial services. Architects and city planners experimented with ways to improve efficiency and accessibility to high traffic areas by creating networks of elevated walkways connecting major buildings to transportation links.

In addition to the property booms of the 1990s, the same period is notable for the number of awards granted to projects relating to culture and education, alongside projects involving the conservation or reuse of heritage buildings and the construction and inauguration of the high profile legacy project, the Hong Kong International Airport (Silver Medal, 1998), opened a year after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, the focal point for a large scale Transport Oriented Development which continues to transform west Kowloon.

An outstanding feature of the last decade of architecture in Hong Kong is the recognition of architectural ties with Mainland China. The HKIA Annual Awards for the years 2000 to the present day mark Hong Kong’s position both as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and as a world city, recognizing projects such as Guangdong Museum (Award for Members’ Works Outside of Hong Kong, 2009).

Tall Storeys chronological and thematic approach shows the new typologies created by Hong Kong architects in response to the most pressing concerns of the day and how these concerns combined to determine the architectural agendas of each stage of Hong Kong’s development.


HKIA Annual Awards 1965 – 2014 – 50 Years of Hong Kong Architecture

The Practice Space, RIBA
66 Portland Place

Opening reception 31 October 2014 by invitation only

Mid October 2014 – 25 November 2014.

Monday to Saturday

10.00 – 17.00